Forensic Biometrics Working Group (FBWG)
Forensic Biometrics applications
Forensic biometrics is understood as the human-based and automated biometric methods used to analyze and interpret biometric data within several forensic applications:
- Demonstrate the existence of an offence
- Investigate offences (forensic investigation/intelligence)
- Individualize a perpetrator (forensic evaluation at source level)
- Describe the modus operandi (forensic evaluation at activity level)
Forensic science is one of the important end-users of biometric technology. However, forensic biometrics is a fragmented area. The elements necessary to develop and implement new products and services are in the hands of different entities that are not necessarily partners yet: the forensic data are collected in the public sector, the products and services are offered by the private sector and new forensic biometric technologies and scenarios emerge within the academic sector.
One desirable long-term development within the EAB is to constitute a Committee on Forensic Biometrics. Such a group will function as a European exchange platform between academic, industrial and forensic partners. It will focus on innovation in forensic biometrics, including research, development and new businesses. The aim is to foster the development of new methods and tools improving the current forensic biometric applications and allowing for the creation of new ones through a multi disciplinary approach. In the European context there is a need for a platform that brings together the forensic, academic and industrial communities in order to shape this interdisciplinary approach into a concrete working platform.
The mission of the EAB will be to foster these entities to become partners through the constitution of a Forensic Biometrics Committee. The role of this Committee will be to encourage the partners to cooperate at several levels: to describe clearly the forensic biometric applications useful to the police and the judicial authorities, to create an environment for research and development activities specifically dedicated to forensic biometrics in academia and to promote the transfer of knowledge and technologies by defining guidelines and standards that allows for the industry to implement into useful services and products.
Objectives of the FBWG
The FBWG will prepare the establishment of a European Forensic Biometrics Committee, the E-FBC. The objective is that the new Committee will actively contribute to:
- 2020 European initiatives
- Digital Agenda for Europe
- Open data policy
- Privacy of biometric systems
- European Forensic Science 2020
- Connect new databases
- Establish common standards
- Implement new forensic biometric applications
The FBWG will take about 12 to 18 months to complete the preparations for the Committee.
The mission of the envisaged FBC is to develop joint activities with forensic, academic and industry partners in Europe. Issues to be addressed are:
- Data privacy and open policy
Activities will take place targeting two main areas:
Forensic biometric applications
The current national applications of forensic biometrics mainly focus on the use of the DNA and fingerprint modalities for investigative and identification purposes. The Prüm convention rules similar activities at a European level in cooperation against terrorism. On the other hand commonly accepted minimum forensic science standards for the collection, processing, use and delivery of forensic data still need to be defined for forensic individualization. Forensic intelligence based on biometric data remains underdeveloped. For the other modalities of forensic interest like face recognition and the soft modalities, applications only exist in form of fragmented initiatives, mostly local (e.g. face recognition) and sometimes national (e.g. speaker recognition in Spain). A development of new applications using current and new modalities under minimum common and accepted standards is the corner stone for a further cooperation in preventing and combating cross-border crime and terrorism.
Forensic biometric technology, data and evaluation
Most of the biometric technologies are primarily developed for access control and adapted to the forensic context, with the noticeable exception of DNA-profiling. The development of technologies specifically designed for the forensic biometric applications and modalities of interest is a necessary step for a performance and standardization breakthrough allowing for the implementation of new services and products scalable and interoperable at supra national level. Such a technological development is only possible with relevant forensic biometric data made available in the respect of the privacy and in a structure suitable to the various forensic applications. The transfer of newly developed forensic biometric technologies to industrial partners also requires the delivery of specific evaluation tools and the determination of validation criteria in line with the requirements of the various forensic biometric applications
The above will be result into the following activities:
- Define the applications
- Making relevant data available
- Define user requirements
- Deliver interoperable solutions
- Deliver specific evaluation tools
- Determine validation criteria
These activities need to result into new applications, structured forensic data at a European level, forensic biometric technology applications and new useful products and services that support national, European and international use.
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Governance of the FBWG
The members of the EAB active or interested by the topic of forensic biometrics are welcome to join the Working Group.
The chairperson and possible co-chairs are members of the EAB active in the field of forensic biometrics, (public sector, private sector and academia). The chair person is preferably active within an operational forensic institution.
Participants external to the EAB can join the Working Group. They can be invited by the chair. They can also request participation to the chair. The acceptance of external participants remains at the discretion of the EAB.
The FBWG has the following milestones:
- Establishment of the EAB Forensic Biometrics Working Group
- Prepare the constitution of the FBC
- Federate a group of interest
- Refine the vision, mission and activities
- Determine the path forward
- Forensic Biometrics Committee
Chair of the FBWG:
- Chair: Didier Meuwly, Netherlands Forensic Institute, Netherlands
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